We are all equal. However, some people still experience considerable unfair discrimination. While it is easy to respond to this with an attempt to forcibly rebalance the world, this will only be counter-productive. Instead we must live the diversity we wish to support.
On the surface Hobson’s talk seems to call for the positive discrimination I have previously rejected.
However, below the surface is a more nuanced call for diversity.
There will be few—if any—readers who will take objection to me saying either that Hobson probably knew several single black men so wasn’t forced to marry a white man, or that she didn’t marry him because he was white.
Indeed her own words explain her reasons:
My husband, who happens to be white…
His race was an irrelevance.
Obviously his race will have had some impact on shaping his character, but race is too broad a trait to call a primary factor.
Take as an example, being black: are a Somali warlord and Brian from university fundamentally similar people because they are both genetically black?
Of course not. Their life experiences are vastly different, so their characters are different. Assuming they will be similar because of race is exactly the prejudice that obstructs equality.
Hobson’s call for diversity in the workplace is the same rejection of racial discrimination.
Recruiting a candidate on the basis they are both from an under-represented group and the best person for the job is only a contradiction if you exclude the benefit of diverse life experiences from the criteria for best person.
This expanding of perspectives also resolves the issue of competing minority criteria: instead race and gender being separate boxes to be ticked for surface conformity, they are part of a single multi-dimensional perspective.
We will not end discrimination by discriminating on a different set of criteria.
We will end discrimination by treating each person as an individual, who happens to have a gender, race, religion, shoe size…
Do you believe we should discriminate against certain groups to benefit others? Do you think having a different perspective is not a benefit?